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Bogging down your server improves CTR!

Do heavy maintenance during prime time.

   
2:15 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



This might sound a little tongue in cheek but I run a massive database site and due to time constraints was forced to do several days of heavy database maintenance during the day.

This makes the site more sluggish because the database is under a heavy load, pages loading a bit (lot) slower than normal, but overall it's not the normal snappy response when we're doing this type of maintenance work on the live site.

We used to do it late at night to avoid such sluggish site problems but it was unavoidable this time, had to happen during prime time.

Well, of all the amazing things to happen, AdSense CTR actually increased, along with revenues, during this maintenance cycle!

Just speculating but perhaps people got tired of waiting on the longer page loads and used AdSense as an escape route.

Earn more, bog down your server today!

Just kidding, somewhat, but I thought the visitor behavioral observation was interesting at a minimum because we've read reports from people that upgrade to faster servers and income suddenly dips so maybe too much site performance is bad for AdSense performance?

2:32 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Shoosh, ur giving away ALL my secrets..
Sure would like to hear from others on this, but it kind of makes sense..
2:53 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Shut your mouth Bill! Someone take his keyboard away! This is gold. Seriously Bill don't just give it away.
3:00 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



BTW, I'm going to add a caveat that this is nowhere near a scientific study but just a casual observation that for several days in a row showed that when the server usages spiked so did the adsense clicking.

Do not try this at home and only attempt with adult supervision.

I'm not responsible if your shared host boots you off the server for bogging down 1K sites during prime time! :)

[edited by: incrediBILL at 3:01 am (utc) on May 20, 2009]

3:43 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



This is gold.

I know it's tongue in the cheek, but actually this could come back and bite someone in the ass after a few weeks with smart pricing.

4:01 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)



know it's tongue in the cheek, but actually this could come back and bite someone in the ass after a few weeks with smart pricing.

Maybe the real gold is in convincing others to leap on the "bog down your server" bandwagon, get smart-priced, and leave more gold flakes in the pan for IncrediBILL. :-)

4:04 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I guess I've been going about this all wrong. I've been striving for speed. Shows what I know.;)
4:49 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Just kidding, somewhat, but I thought the visitor behavioral observation was interesting at a minimum because we've read reports from people that upgrade to faster servers and income suddenly dips so maybe too much site performance is bad for AdSense performance?

Terrible!

I invested much time October to January to improve load time of my sites.

5:38 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Nothing new. I remember a couple of years ago we had a thread about this guy who purposely put his ad block on the top and configured the rest of his page to load so slowly that folks clicked the first available thing they saw - the ads. Mighty high CTR he had, if I recall correctly... something like 40%.
7:36 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I thought the visitor behavioral observation was interesting at a minimum because we've read reports from people that upgrade to faster servers and income suddenly dips...

Of course, Incredibill isn't advocating people slow down their servers, he's sharing an experience that resulted in higher CTR and earnings, a small window into page loading times and how it affects clicks and earnings.

What do we make of it?

7:59 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I swear this just happened to me [I was running a server intensive process too] and I was thinking just the same thing. The CTR is 3 times and so is the ecpm. I guess when your site is sluggish people are keen to find a way out.
8:27 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Shut your mouth Bill! Someone take his keyboard away!

I have dibs on his display!

10:32 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Bill

Perhaps you're even breaking the TOS. It sounds like, in essence, your site was just showing Adsense ads since your sever hadn't coughed up the actual content. So this could at least be considered drawing attention to the ads.

I think you almost always get better CTR when you don't provide the information your visitor wants! That's why MFA sites must be very profitable, if, you can avoid being kicked out by Google.

So remember, SLOW SITE = LOSE ADSENSE ACCOUNT

As Bill says try this at your own risk!

10:53 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member hobbs is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



This is like praying for God to give you only what you want and not what you really need, careful there.

Many here saw a ctr improvement after the last maintenance, one I know had a car accident, another lost her disk to a virus, I changed all my ad colors, we might have something there too ;-)

On a more serious note, yes slower loading pages and ads loading first must boost CTR, shaving off half your content, over blending, site navigation and back button removal should produce similar results, there you have it, the farm is all yours.

11:22 am on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You do know that a slow server adversely impacts your rankings right? I guess the improvement in revenue is only temporary. Once the 'google system' adjusts to your new situation, you will be left with less traffic, a lower CPC and a poor user experience.
12:07 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Technically, is it cloaking to throw a sleep(2) in you PHP code if the visitor is not a GoogleBot? Good ranking and good CTR (and smart priced some weeks later, so better don't try it!)...
12:13 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



i see it on many forums: loading adsense blocks - wait 5 seconds - loading content.
deliberate? i think so. compatible with adsense-tos? i think not.

actually sad to recognize that for maximum ctr, a butt ugly design, blending tricks like mentioned above and dissatisfaction of user needs will help.

12:28 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Perhaps you're even breaking the TOS. It sounds like, in essence, your site was just showing Adsense ads since your sever hadn't coughed up the actual content. So this could at least be considered drawing attention to the ads.

Nope, the whole page was served up and my content is always displayed before AdSense, it's the last thing that loads on the page.

I'm just saying the delay between pages being served only slowed somewhat, perhaps enough to frustrate them to click other things, nothing being done intentionally, just an observation.

You do know that a slow server adversely impacts your rankings right?

If that were true all those days when WebmasterWorld runs slow would have a serious impact and it ranks just fine.

I think speed would impact your site ranking if it was a constantly bad problem, not just 1 or 2 days during maintenance or some other heavy load situation.

Besides, if speed were a deal buster Twitter would be a PR0

Every night when my log analyzer fires off around 3am the server gets real sluggish for up to 30 min later in the month and the spiders are all over the site, they don't seem to mind and this has been going on nightly for years.

Don't make so much out of this post guys, it was just a unique one time observation from something that happened out of necessity.

5:16 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



ah, but I bet your EPC went down in the same period.

This explains my crap adsense earnings since upgrading my hosting!

5:30 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



How do you know the CTR is from the same window of time that you are doing db maintenance? Adsense reports do not have a time-of-day report, so we do not know when the best CTR times really are... The reports could be lagging 15 minutes, or 3 hours... we really don't know.
6:21 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



How do you know the CTR is from the same window of time that you are doing db maintenance?

Because I sample and record my AdSense reporting in 15 minute increments so I can see the changes per time of day. True it's not real time reporting exactly but the site has norms it hits at various times during the day and it was easily exceeding those norms.

7:21 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Unfortunately it is still just guess work since we don't know how they batch reporting numbers. Sometimes clicks lag, sometimes earnings lag, sometimes both.

Wish we had more data. Do you know if Ad Manager with Adsense has this ability?

7:54 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Scenario: You have a php driven site with SQL. Your site has a standard header area with an adsense unit in it, which is of course followed by a content area. The content area requires information from the database.

Under that scenario, and assuming a database under heavy load, it's not unreasonable to think the page will "hang" right after the header area, right after the adsense ad. People may very well click on the ad instead of waiting for the page to load hence your increased CTR.

That being said I'm sure Google is aware of this, i'm sure they have metrics to monitor both your sites performance and any such spikes in CTR, and I highly doubt the effect will endure for very long. I'm also positive Google is able to detect if the slowdown is intentional and I would assume they could conceivably add a small delay to the time it takes to load the ads as well if it's an ongoing problem (on some sites it's a permanent problem).

edit: just because your adsense is at the bottom of the page doesn't mean it won't show up before the rest of the page if the database is under load. Different scenario, same effect.

[edited by: JS_Harris at 7:59 pm (utc) on May 20, 2009]

10:47 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It is very easy to get a high CTR.... VERY EASY! CTR was never the problem. But Smartpricing will kill your earnings, and it happens very fast, because people are clicking on ads but they don't buy anything if they are not REALLY interested! So anyone who is drawing intentionally attention to ads will regret it - because getting back your old (higher) CPC is very very very hard.
11:27 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Some of us actually care about our users.
12:35 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Some of us actually care about our users.

Ya' know, I could not say anything and let you go on your way in a state of outrage. But that wouldn't be nice. So I'd like to respectfully suggest you read the post. No one is advocating doing anything to disrespect their site visitors. ;)

1:25 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)



Some of us actually care about our users.

Maybe IncrediBILL just wants to do them a favor by teaching them the art of patience. :-)

Seriously: He said he was kidding, and the observation was interesting. It also sounded reasonable, in that frustrated users are likely to click on something--whether it's the back button or an AdSense ad--if the server doesn't respond. That doesn't mean AdSense publishers should replace the outboards on their servers with trolling motors, or that smart pricing isn't likely to erase any benefits from poorly motivated clicks.

2:53 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



A slow loading page, with fasty loading adsense does give a very good boost to click-through epm and earnings. Users look at the first text that appears whether its ads or contnent. Why not have them spend a second looking at the ads first.

Recomendations.

Load adsense code as early in the html as possible, with as much content and navigation after.

Use a flush in php or asp to push the html immediately after the ad code.

Have database calls occur after the adsense code.

A wait or sleep does wonders, but could have serious effects from google or on usability.

BTW did anyone else notice the difference in ecpm between regular and one time visitors?

5:02 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"What do we make of it?"

Maybe it's about changing the behavior of the site more than anything else. The site changed and that stimulated people to click more. Remember that old experiment when lights in a factory were altered and that increased productive. Maybe itís along the same lines. The site wasnít the same old same old.

6:58 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Well

This happenes with me sometimes, i own a chatting website, some times the chat server go down, so when people try to join the rooms, they kep seeing connecting.... , so while waiting they will give a look on ads and click more. thats true it happen.

But i think providing a good service with no down time, is more important than earning few dollars specially in long term.

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